ePub 版

Thinking only of her crested head-poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlor-but she ne'er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed;
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the spider and the fly.

[blocks in formation]

Hark! hark! I hear his footsteps now;
He's through the garden gate.
Run, little Bess, and ope the door,

And do not let him wait.

Shout, baby, shout! and clap thy hands,
For father on the threshold stands.


We meet around the board, thou art not there;
Over our household joys hath passed a gloom;
Beside the fire we see thy empty chair,

And miss thy sweet voice in the silent room.
What hopeless longings after thee arise!
Even for the touch of thy small hand I pine;
And for the sound of thy dear little feet.
Alas! tears dim mine eyes,

Meeting in every place some joy of thine,

Or when fair children pass me in the street. Beauty was on thy cheek; and thou didst seem A privileged being, chartered from decay; And thy free spirit, like a mountain stream

That hath no ebb, kept on its cheerful way.

Thy laugh was like the inspiring breath of spring,
That thrills the heart, and cannot be unfelt;

The sun, the moon, the green leaves and the flowers,
And every living thing,

Were a strong joy to thee; thy spirit dwelt
Gladly in life, rejoicing in its powers.

Oh! what had death to do with one like thee,

Thou young and loving one; whose soul did cling, Even as the ivy clings unto the tree,

To those that loved thee? Thou, whose tears would spring
Dreading a short day's absence, didst thou go
Alone into the future world unseen,

Solving each awful untried mystery,
The dread unknown to know;

To be where mortal traveller hath not been,
Whence welcome tidings cannot come from thee?

My happy boy! and murmur I that death

Over thy young and buoyant frame had power? In yon bright land love never perisheth,

Hope may not mock, nor grief the heart devour.

The beautiful are round thee; thou dost keep
Within the Eternal Presence; and no more
Mayst death, or pain, or separation dread:
Thy bright eyes cannot weep,

Nor they with whom thou art thy loss deplore;
For ye are of the living, not the dead.

Thou dweller with the unseen, who hast explored

The immense unknown; thou to whom death and heaven
Are mysteries no more; whose soul is stored

With knowledge for which man hath vainly striven;
Beloved child, oh! when shall I lie down
With thee beneath fair trees that cannot fade?

When from the immortal rivers quench my thirst?
Life's journey speedeth on;

Yet for a little while we walk in shade;

Anon, by death the cloud is all dispersed;

Then o'er the hills of heaven the eternal day doth burst.


THE history of this most distinguished statesman, orator, scholar, and philanthropist is so identified with the history of his country for the last fifty years, that it would be impossible to write his life without making the groundwork of it a history of the age in which he lived. "The public measures with which he is most closely identified are, the advocacy of the manufacturing and commercial interests, as opposed to orders in council, and other restrictions on trade; hostility to the continental combinations of the successors of Pitt, and their legitimate offspring, the exhausting wars of the Holy Alliance; the vindication of Queen Caroline in the struggle with her libertine husband; the freedom of the press, attempted to be overawed by prosecutions for libels on the government and the church; the education of the middle and lower orders; religious toleration for dissenters and Catholics; reform in the civil and criminal law; Parliamentary reform; municipal reform; poor-laws reform; the abolition of the slave trade and slavery; retrenchment in government expenditures; the independ ence of the Canadian Legislature, and the repeal of the corn-laws. What a catalogue have we here! Upon all these measures, each of which was an era in British history, Brougham has acted a leading, and, upon many, a controlling part. His speeches upon most of them surpassed those of any other of their advocates, whether we consider the extent of the information displayed, the depth and energy of the reasoning, the scope and vigor of the style, the eloquence of the appeals to justice and humanity, or the majesty and splendor of the highest passages."

Henry Brougham is the eldest son of Henry Brougham, Esq., of Brougham Hall, in Westmoreland, and was born in the year 1779. He received the rudiments of his education at the high school in Edinburgh, then

Read an eloquent chapter (the sixteenth), in Stanton's "Reforms and Reformers of Great Britain," upon the life, services, and character of Lord Brougham-a chapter worth the price of the book.

under the superintendence of Dr. Adam, and, in 1795, entered the university, where he distinguished himself by the aptness and energy of mind he displayed in grasping any subject which he made the object of his studies. In 1802, he became one of the projectors and chief contributors of the "Edinburgh Review," in conjunction with Mr. Jeffrey, Sydney Smith, and others; and, in 1803, published "An Inquiry into the Colonial Policy of the European Powers," which at once drew the eyes of the public upon its author. After being called to the Scots' bar, he made a tour to the north of Europe, and on his return commenced practice in the Court of King's Bench, London. Here his reputation rose rapidly, and gained for him both popularity and emolument.

He first entered Parliament in 1810, and here he found the appropriate field for his transcendent abilities. In 1815, he introduced his own bill for the better education of the poor, and in 1818 succeeded in carrying it through a committee of the whole house, having supported it in a speech of extraordinary brilliancy. In 1820, on the commencement of the proceedings against Queen Caroline, in the House of Lords, Mr. Brougham appeared as her attorney general, at the head of her legal defenders. His bearing on this occasion was such as almost to awe the accusers of his royal client, whilst his skilful cross-examination of the witnesses against her, and his masterly speech in her behalf, had such an effect, that Lord Liverpool thought it advisable to abandon the prosecution.

Towards the end of 1823, Mr. Brougham had the gratification of seeing the London Mechanics' Institution established, in the formation of which he had greatly assisted; and, shortly after, he published an admirable pamphlet, entitled "Practical Observations upon the Education of the People, addressed to the Working Classes and their Employers." In June, 1824, he brought before Parliament the circumstances relative to the horrible treatment of the missionary Smith, in Demerara, and continued to denounce slavery and the slave trade, and to advocate the cause of emancipation, on every opportunity.

In the early part of 1825, Mr. Brougham was elected Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow, in opposition to Sir Walter Scott, and, at the installation, delivered one of the most finished and eloquent orations ever composed, although it had been written during the bustle and fatigue of the Northern Circuit.

The year 1827 is memorable for the establishment of the "Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge," of which Mr. Brougham was President. He was its most active promoter, and composed for it the admirable "Treatise on the Objects, Pleasures, and Advantages of Science"-its first publication. In this year, also, the London University was founded, and the name of Brougham will ever be associated with it as one of its originators. In 1829, he supported the Catholic Relief Bill, introduced by the Wellington administration, and at the general election of 1830, he was, in the most flattering manner, elected for Yorkshire, where he had no influence whatever beyond that of his great public celebrity.

In the spring of 1828, he made his memorable speech on the subject of reform in the administration of the law, on which "he spoke six hours and

a half; during all that time riveting the attention of his hearers. The way in which he relieved this dry subject, into the details of which he was obliged to enter, the vast body of information he brought forward, and the enlightened nature of the amendments he proposed, render the speech altogether one of the most remarkable in parliamentary history."


The accession of Lord Grey's administration in November, 1830, was the signal for Mr. Brougham's appointment to the Lord Chancellorship, and his elevation to the peerage, by the title of Baron Brougham and Vaux, of Brougham, in Westmoreland. But it has been correctly remarked that his acceptance of the Chancellorship, and his consequent removal from the House of Commons, was the greatest political error of his life; for that house was the very field for him to display his transcendent abilities and exert his all-powerful influence. During the administration of Earl Grey, the celebrated Reform Bill was passed, which contained many provisions of substantial good, though it did not accomplish all that its ardent friends wished and hoped.2

Lord Brougham continued to discharge the duties of Lord Chancellor until the dissolution of the Melbourne cabinet in 1834, when he went out with the other ministers. Since that time he has been constantly exerting his transcendent abilities in the House of Lords, in favor of every measure that is calculated to advance the best interests of society; but to particularize all his efforts would be quite out of the question in my limited space. His chief publications are, "An Inquiry into the Colonial Policy of the European Powers," two volumes; "Biography of Eminent Statesmen and Men of Letters, in the reign of George III," three volumes; "A Discourse on Natural Theology," and an edition of his Parliamentary Speeches,

[ocr errors]

Biography in the "National Portrait Gallery."

"The reformers expected much from the new administration, and everything from Brougham. Large quantities of ripe fruit were expected, therefore, to be immediately gathered. Sydney Smith foreshadowed this in his droll way. In a speech during the struggle, he said: All young ladies will imagine, as soon as this bill is carried, that they will be instantly married. Schoolboys believe that gerunds and supines will be abolished, and that currant tarts must ultimately come down in price; the corporal and sergeant are sure of double pay; bad poets will expect a demand for their epics; fools will be disappointed, as they always are; reasonable men, who know what to expect, will find that a very serious good has been obtained.' Much was done for reform by the Grey ministry, after the passage of the bill. In less than two years, West India slavery was abolished-the East India Company's monopoly destroyed-the poor laws amended-the criminal code softened-the administration of the courts essentially improved-the Scotch municipal corporations totally reformed-and many abuses corrected in the Irish church establishment. But young ladies, bad poets, and fools of all sorts, clamored for more, and many reasonable men were disappointed."

Stanton's "Reforms and Reformers," p. 188.

Of his "Discourse on Natural Theology," the "Edinburgh Review" thus speaks: "It has often been made a reproach to Christianity, and often has it proved a snare to the young inquirer, that men of genius have not readily yielded to the weight of its testimony. Impotent as this argument is, it has been wielded with considerable effect; and although such examples of infidelity are not difficult of explanation, yet it is the best and fairest reply to point to that cloud of witnesses which is resplendent with the names of Milton and Locke, of

« 上一頁繼續 »